Welcome chums and Happy Friday to you. This Friday we are crushing on a truly stupendous lady — Julie Andrews. For many, including me, the name Julie Andrews evokes warm nostalgia — an instant injection of happiness. She is after all Mary Poppins, not to mention a problematic Maria but as I learned recently* — her life has not always been so rose-tinted.
Andrews was born in Surrey, England in 1935 — her family was very poor and her step-father was an alcoholic. After WWII, the family's fortune improved and Andrews step-father organised singing lessons for Julie, where her her influential teacher Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen discovered that Andrews had perfect pitch. Julie then began performing with her parents on stage and from here performed at the London Palladium and on the BBC. After this she won a role on Broadway and was then asked to audition for a new show - My Fair Lady, she won the role of course and dazzled as Eliza Doolittle. However when the film was green lighted - Andrews was overlooked, and Audrey Hepburn was cast as Eliza. Apparently Andrews was not a big enough 'name'. Of course Andrews went on to star in wonderfully iconic films such as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music and ironically enough become very close with Audrey Hepburn years later, where she admitted 'You should have done My Fair Lady, Julie — but I didn't have the guts to turn it down.'
Her career had many ups and downs, including cinematic flops and a botched surgery which robbed Julie of her astounding vocal range but through it all Julie Andrews remains strong, smiling and oh-so-resilient. What a Femme.
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* I've recently become OBSESSED with Alec Baldwin's podcast, he interviewed Ms Andrews and it was fantastic. I would HIGHLY recommend a listen — pop here for a taste